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July 2024
1min read

To his grandnephew, Henry Augustus Ward was an ordinary relative whose stuffed toys were gratifyingly larger than most. But to the world at large he was the “Museum Man.” He ran Ward’s Natural History Establishment at Rochester, New York, a crowded supply depot for the American museum business. If you wanted a stuffed lion or a cabinet of 20,000 labeled fossils or a freshly landed meteor, Henry Ward was the man to see. (His taxidermie supremacy was confirmed in 1886, when P. T. Barnum commissioned him to stuff the monumental elephant Jumbo after its epic confrontation with a train.) This picture of little Frederick Kemp Ward, Jr., seated atop one of his great-uncle’s specimens was taken about 1905 and sent to us by his sister Caroline of Dobbs Ferry, New York. The taxidermy department was in chronic need of newspapers with which to make papier-mêche bodies, Miss Ward recalls, and “in the winter my brother and I collected newspapers from the neighbors each week, tied them in bundles, and pulled them on sleds to the museum, which paid 50 cents per hundred pounds. If we earned 50 cents a trip we felt we were very rich.”

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